For the first time, the CNMI will be joining the rest of the world in celebrating the International Day of People with Disabilities.
With the theme, “The Future is Accessible,” the event, which will be held tomorrow, from 10am to 2pm at the CNMI Center for Living Independently on Capitol Hill, is being organized by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, with all its disability network partners, to recognize the strength and the significant role people with disabilities play.
The event will also provide a venue for people with disabilities to have access to resources and services that are available to them such as health care, scholarships, bank loans, and job placements.
OVR director Maryann Borja-Arriola calls on everyone, especially PWDs, to join the celebration. “Come out and celebrate so that we can mingle,” Borja-Arriola said. “This is the time for them [PWDs] to go out and mingle with the community, to come out and be a part of the community so we have that equality.”
OVR hopes to highlight three important concerns—equality, accessibility, and inclusivity—when it comes to PWDs and highlight the fact that, contrary to popular opinion of PWDs as hidden, ignored, and disconnected, a lot of them are, in fact, successful.
“It is a day where we want people to feel included,” said OVR employment specialist Naomi A. Tudela. “So this place is somewhere that they could just come and be, and know that this is somewhere that they can find resources that are available to them in the CNMI such as OVR.”
Tudela also explained that disability is not only physical ailment or special needs, that many people also have unseen disabilities and that OVR wants them to know what resources are available to them.
As part of tomorrow’s celebration, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios will be having a proclamation signing for the 2019 International Day of People with Disabilities at the Center for Living Independently building.
The event will also feature a keynote speech from Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan; presentation and success stories from VOICES of the CNMI; dances from the Guma Simiyan Mañaina-ta CCVI Dumatsuri Dance Group; and live band performances from Parker Yobei, Northern Star Band, Tatz Selepeo, Big Jay Selepeo, and Abs Kaipat. There will also be free refreshments.
For more information, contact OVR at (670) 287-6609 or visit www.ovrgov.net.